Clinical Edge

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Timing of Antibiotic Administration for Neutropenic Fever

J Oncol Pharm Pract; 2017 Jun; Butts, et al

Prolonged time to antibiotic administration in patients with hematologic malignancies who developed neutropenic fever was not significantly linked with negative outcomes, according to a retrospective chart review involving 244 individuals.

Participants with fever had been admitted to the hospital for a diagnosis other than febrile neutropenia between 2010 and 2014. Investigators analyzed admissions-related data. Among the results:

  • 35 events led to in-hospital mortality, intensive care unit transfer, or vasopressor requirement.
  • In-house mortality rate was 7.4%.
  • Time-to-antibiotics ranged between 10 minutes and ~24 hours.
  • Median time to antibiotics in the group experiencing negative outcomes was 120 minutes, vs 102 minutes in those who did not experience such.
  • Conditional order sets were used for empiric antibiotics in 176 events, which significantly reduced time to antibiotics from 287 to 143 minutes.


Butts A, Bachmeier C, Dressler E, et al. Association of time to antibiotics and clinical outcomes in adult hematologic malignancy patients with febrile neutropenia. J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2017;23(4):278-283. doi:10.1177/1078155216687150.